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XViD Ripping Guide

Wednesday, August 27, 2003 by TheDoc || [0 Comments]

Disclaimer:

This document does not promote, condone, or otherwise legitimize piracy. All Digital Video Discs (DVDs) used herein are legitimate retail copies with copyrights belonging to the respective authors and associated facilities of creation. The author of this document and the domain on which it is hosted shall incur no penalties from mishandling of this document in the extrapolation thereof for illegal purposes. We at Short-Media insist that this guideline is to be used with Digital Video Discs (DVDs) that are also legal, retail copies.

Introduction:

DiVX is fine, but you have to pay for it or allow Gator (Hiss) onto your system should you wish to access the pro features. The pro features are already included for free on XViD. Furthermore, the pro features are required to produce the quality that XViD is capable of without them. I've had my fun with DiVX and it's now obviously poor frame quality and size/quality ratio. DiVX tends to produce blocky video at bitrates whereas XViD does not. After all this ragging, you'd think DiVX is the worst thing ever, but it really isn't. DiVX is a quick-and-dirty solution to produce acceptably small downloads with reasonable viewing quality. XViD is a codec designed exactly for what we're doing here: making high quality video in MPEG4 format a reality.

XViD is not without its problems. The MPEG standard in all its video-related iterations (MPEG1, MPEG2, MPEG4) belongs to the Motion Picture Engineering Group. They have it patented and offer licenses for its use. DiVX costs money because it must pay royalty fees to the MPEG group. XViD (Which is also MPEG4), on the other hand, is both open-source and free. It manages to hold these qualities by using the GPL in addition to releasing their codecs only in source code. XViD.org does not offer pre-compiled binaries of their codecs, so that leaves you with two options:

1) Compile the source from XViD.org yourself using Microsoft Visual C++ 6.0 with the NASM libraries, MSVC++6 service pack 5, and the DirectX9 SDK libraries.

or

2) Spend some time on DiVX-Digest or Filemirrors to acquire a compiled binary that is dated recently.

If compiling isn't your thing (And I guarantee you it won't be until XViD 1.0 for me), gravitate towards option two. The codec I use is dated for late July, and it supports many of the latest features, including VHQ and QPel.

This drawback only slightly tarnishes the sparkling virtues that this codec holds. In comparison to DiVX: Faster encoding times, better quality/size ratio, and superior picture quality. This tutorial will tell you in a few simple steps how to produce an extremely high quality XViD movie from a DVD source. The XViD, when done, will be approximately 720MB for 1:30:00 to 2:15:00 of film, and 1300MB for 2:16:00 to 4:00:00 of film and it will retain approximately 90% of the quality the DVD media holds. Comparing this to my DiVX guide, which required quite a fair bit more space for the same qualities, you can easily see why I now favor the XViD codec.

Programs needed:

DVD Decrypter
DVDx
XViD Codec
XViD Bitrate Calculator


Ripping the DVD (Single movie track discs):

Place the desired DVD in your DVD drive of course, then launch DVD decrypter. Boxed off in red on any picture in this document are the important sections of the programs to change, and the topics I will be covering through the guide. Above are two such boxes. Under the 'Destination' header of the program, one must select where they wish to put the .VOB files (The video object; your movie). Please make sure you have ample space! VOB files consume between 4.7 and 9.2GB of space depending on the disc you're working with. It's suggested you leave 11GB of space open to work with the file you're ripping.

Once you have the destination selected, hit the DVD -> Disk button and come back in about fifteen minutes. All the proper video files will automatically be extracted from the DVD, decoded, unencrypted, and supplied in a readable format. This is the only time you need to work with DVD decrypter.

Ripping the DVD (Multiple movie track discs):

As an example here, I also included Disc Six of The Prisoner DVD collection to illustrate the ripping process on a DVD with multiple video tracks (In this case, Volume Six of The Prisoner has two episodes) with DVD decrypter.

In the image above, the input section is set off in a box. This contains the list of all the video/content files on the disc in lists of tracks (PGC 1 is track 1, PGC 2 is track 2, etc). Should you have multiple episodes on a disc, you will have to select each track and export it separately (Here PGC 1 is the first episode and PGC 2 is the second episode. I can tell because the length of the tracks coincide with the length of the episodes on this classic series). In this case, follow the same methods listed above for single video tracks, but do it as many times as you need to get all the episodes exported.

Once you have the destination selected and the proper video track selected, hit the DVD -> Disk button and come back in about three to fifteen minutes (Depending on the size of the tracks and number thereof). All the proper video files will automatically be extracted from the DVD, decoded, unencrypted, and supplied in a readable format. This is the only time you need to work with DVD decrypter.

Here above is The Matrix outputting to my WD1200JB after I clicked the DVD -> Disk button. As you can see, it says that the DVD is 5.73GB in size. This will be the largest file you'll have on the disc. Ripping takes about 12-15 minutes. I was playing EverQuest here, so it says 21 minutes instead.

Input Parameters:

Once the file is extracted from the DVD you're done with it. You can eject the disc, put it away, and close DVD Decrypter. It's now time to launch DVDx which is, in my opinion, one of the finest programs out there to convert the decrypted DVD to codeced formats. To do so, go to File -> Open IFO.

Now navigate to the directory where you extracted the DVD and open the only .IFO file. This will template the DVD and launch the next window:

The input settings allow you to define the parameters of the video being imported. In DeCSS, check both boxes. In iDCT, scroll down until you find FPU. Output frame rate must be 23.976 FPS for an American DVD, 25 FPS for you PAL people. If an NTSC DVD was made within the last three years, and tells you that the source media differs from 23.976 FPS, the DVD is encoded funny. Simply check 'Force 24Hz' to remedy this issue. Under audio, make sure to select High Quality 48kHz to 44.1kHz.

Once you have defined these parameters, click OK and get this error:

Click 'Yes,' and continue.

Output parameters:

Now that you have defined the parameters for input so DVDx knows what to do with the file, it's time to define the output (That is the XViD-encoded AVI) parameters. Go to Settings -> Output settings like so:

Once this is done, you'll be greeted with the output parameters box:

This is by far the most complex portion of the process: defining the parameters with which to encode your movie. Step by step, let's define the template as it applies to the red boxes:

Click the Audio Lame button and change the bitrate to 128 kbps. 192 is unnecessary for an MP3 file; it just makes your video bigger. If you want to keep 192, your video quality will suffer VERY slightly. XViD and DiVX both fully support LAME's MP3/AC3 encoding schemes. Above the 'AVI Specific' header is a drop-down box that allows you to define the subset of codecs you wish to use. Select AVI. Within the 'AVI specific' section, directly above the 'Pass 1 settings' and 'Pass 2 settings' buttons is where you select one of your installed AVI-compatible video codecs; select XViD from this list. In the 'Volume Don't Exceed' section, change custom size to 'Infinite' and for 'Max Frame' click the 'Whole' button. Resolution and zoom settings will be addressed later.

Two pass XViD files are the best. On the first pass, the XViD codec does not render any footage to disk. The first pass critically analyzes each frame of footage and does what is called a 'Dummy pass.' A dummy pass is a fake encoding of a file (similar to a test burn on a CD-RW drive) to give the codec an idea of how efficiently it can compress the video into your required size, and what quality it can produce. The dummy pass writes a log file to disk which is subsequently used by the second pass. The log file defines the parameters for the intelligent compression schema associated with encoding. It defines what frames can be compressed and by how much, how to sync the audio, how to use your rendering effects, etcetera. This log file is crucial. It's the brain of the operation, and without it (One pass mode) your quality suffers. The second pass uses said log file to produce the highest quality on each frame in the size you have asked it to use. Next, check the 'Enable 2nd' box, and click 'Pass 1 settings.' This will bring up the XViD codec encoding configuration box:

For the first pass, simply select '2 Pass - 1st Pass' and then hit the advanced options button. Hitting this button will launch the next window:

The global configuration is the most important aspect of the encoding process. This is the section in which you define all the necessary parameters that will affect the quality of your codec. All the settings for the codec should be selected as displayed. If you wish to pack the highest amount of quality (At extremely slow encoding speeds), VHQ mode should be set to '4 - Wide Search' and Quaterpel should be checked. Once this is done you can hit OK, and OK again to bring you back to DVDx output settings.

Once you are done configuring the 1st pass, click Pass 2 settings. This will open the box necessary for defining the parameters of your second encoding pass:

Encoding mode should be set at '2 Pass - 2nd Pass Int.' To determine the desired size, we use our bitrate calculator. Launch XViD BRC.

Calculating the Bitrate:

This is the first screen of our bitrate calculator. Movie length obviously determines the length of your movie in minutes. Drag the slider out to the length of the movie, and round off to the nearest minute. The movie size slider determines the overall size of the movie (With audio), so drag the slider out to the size you want the entire completed movie to be. In this case, The Matrix is 136 minutes long and as such, I have determined that a reasonable size is 700mb. Audio streams should be set to 1, and the audio bitrate is 128. Clicking the resolution tab:

If you're using NTSC DVDs, the width is 720. The height must be determined by you in regards to the DVD you are using. Your source format is NTSC - 23.976 in the U.S., PAL - 25.000 in some other places (Most notably the United Kingdom). There is no lock on the aspect ratio. Ignore the fact that it tells you it's not a good idea. I said it is, and my XViDs are nice. Click back to the first window and copy the section where it says:

'Video Size: 581556 KByes.'

Close the bitrate calculator and go back to Pass 2 settings in DVDx:

In 'Desired Size (Kbytes)' place the value you had just copied, and hit advanced options:

Use these settings.

Defining the Resolution of the XViD:

Go to the output settings for DVDx:

In the red box is the necessary information to determine the resolution. The width, as noted, is always 720 (Unless you're resizing the video which isn't recommended if you plan to keep it watchable). The height, however is determined solely by the DVD. Once you select custom, hit apply and flip back to the main window. Notice that I have taken the green box and moved it from the full 720x480 down to the 720x352 that The Matrix uses. I have pulled the green bar around the VIDEO ONLY (very important to get the most out of your bitrate, elsewise the encoder will encode black bands and sap precious video bitrate). You should now roughly have the video outlined with the green bar like so:

Return to the output settings and input the Width x Height value you have found. Make sure both values are divisible by 8. As you'll notice, I boxed off 720x356. 356 isn't a multiple of 8, but 352 is, so I rounded down the width to 352.

Here is The Matrix encoding the first few minutes with the lovely Trinity:

Final Tips:

  • If your video is 1:00:00 to 2:15:00, your video should do well with a 700 or 750 megabyte total size.
  • If your video is 2:16:00 to 4:30:00, your video should do well with a 1300 or 1400 megabyte total size.
  • QPel increases quality, but encoding speed suffers.
  • Mode 4 wide search VHQ increases quality, but encoding speed suffers severely.

*EXTREMELY IMPORTANT* When in 2 pass mode, DVDx requires up to two hours to analyze the log file that the first pass produces (DVDx calls it 'Releasing the AVI'). During this time DVDx will NOT respond to any commands from windows. It will appear as if the program has locked up...Just leave it alone, it's analyzing. I made the mistake of killing a few hours of work thinking the program had died a few times. Later I put sense to scenario and figured it all out.

Conclusion:

When you're all done, you should have a XViD rip of your DVD with image quality that rivals DVD; identical DVD resolution; and excellent sound! All this, and at only 1/4-1/6th of the space a DVD requires. Should you wish to reduce the size of the video, you can reduce the resolution, reduce the sound quality, or reduce the bitrate. Of all of these methods, reducing the sound quality to 92kbps and reducing the resolution to another integer with the same aspect ratio (The Matrix is 2.04:1, so 720x352 could be reduced to 512x256) are the best options. Turning down the total video size reduces the bitrate further, but quality suffers. The choice is yours to weigh. Please await the next installment where we take a DiVX/XViD AVI and produce an SVCD with it, introducing a few new and useful programs into your repertoire.

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